This is probably a cliché complaint by now, but it is also very true. Every time I say I am a linguist, people ask me how many languages I speak. And while I do speak 4 languages fluently, which is more than an average person (maybe not, depending on where you live), I often meet non-linguists who speak more languages than that (at least that’s what they say). In short, it doesn’t matter how many languages I speak, because that’s not what linguists do! And if I self-reflect on why this type of comment bothers me, I guess it’s because I am embarrassingly slow at learning languages, and I am by no means “talented” for languages. I am only “talented” for grammar, which is coincidentally what linguists do study.

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